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Mapping a nation

Most Navajo Nation homes don't have addresses — but that's starting to change

Most Navajo Nation homes don’t have addresses — but that’s starting to change

This segment originally aired Feb. 2, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

Navajo Nation is the largest Native American territory in the country, sprawling across nearly 28,000 square miles and three states. It can be hard to find your way around, and not just because the lands are mostly rural. The majority of homes and businesses in Navajo Nation don’t have addresses.

Navajo Nation is split into 110 chapters, and about 70 of them don’t have street names or numbered addresses, which adds up to at least 50,000 unmarked properties.

“We don’t have fancy roads and streets that go North, East, South, West, in a grid system,” rural addressing supervisor M.C. Baldwin told VICE News correspondent Nellie Bowles. “Our roads are going all over the place.”

Some people in Navajo Nation like being off the grid, but others are trying to add more signage, citing safety concerns.

“We need it for Navajo Nation. We need it for the grandmas and grandpas out there who need that for emergency purposes,” Baldwin told VICE News.

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